Tag Archives: Hug

True sis’ first kiss

Spoiler alert. On two recent occasions, namely Frozen and Maleficent, the makers of Disney have diverted our notion of true love from ‘protective prince charming’ to ‘protective loving sister’. Are those attempts to break with an age-old tradition?

Let’s face it: ever since Disney’s feature-length movies arose, most of them ended with a wedding. Sure, there have been exceptions. Dumbo liberated himself from the public opinion and the Fox and the Hound painfully discovered how predisposed societal roles can divide friends, but generally, Disney’s protagonists have lived happily ever after.

You’re not an outcast anymore if you state that Disney has tricked generations into the ideal of getting married by highlighting only the exiting road towards the encounter with the other half. Perhaps the writers of these films have sensed this critique. Maybe they agreed with it. Of course, Pixar winked at this given with the Shrek sequels, where the trails and tribulations of marriage came up, but even that didn’t truly address the decreasing interest for being together in general.

In a society where individuality is more pronounced than ever and romances fail over and over again, it was about time that the film industry came up with better plots than the eternal story of romance. Emphasizing the powerful bond between women may well have been the wisest thing to do. If you look at the amount of sisterselfies that flows by on Facebook and Instagram, you would surely buy the idea that sisterhood is the new societal ideal.

The only way to face this, guys, is if we form a warm global collective of loving brothers. But let’s not fool ourselves: people are far more likely to look at our pictures when they have a girl on them, so the battle is already lost. Besides, we western men are far too independent to define our image by pictures of our fellows. We are slayers, and slayers work alone.

Which raises another point: have you ever seen a Disney tale where a man is promised redemption after ‘true love’s first kiss?’ Men are free by definition. They have to turn the force of evil to liberate the woman and earn her love. They could rescue any other woman if they wanted to, but they happen to have chosen the female protagonist. Therefore, ending a Disney film with a curse-lifting brother’s kiss would be less credible, and probably feel less liberating than these recent girly storlyline twists. By letting women save women, Disney answers to a growing independance. In this story, men are perhaps less usefull, but as free as ever.

I still don’t know a single Disney film where the princess rescues the prince. Wouldn’t that be laughable?

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Friendhopping – Part V: The ways of the Road

The holidays are nearing and it seems that there is some hitchhiking in store for me. In memory of my past trips, I decided to work through my old travellers’ blogs, take the mistakes out, change the names where necessary and post them here piece by piece, on Wednesdays. I’m starting with the final trip I took so far, written just after I finished my studies. The series contains a storyline about love and friendship. It has six parts. This is part five.

August 19th, 2011
“Bonjour! Je suis Gilles l’auto-stoppeur! Auriez vous encore une place pour m’emmener a Toulouse?”
Looking at my outfit – long hair and colourfull pants – I reckon it would complete the picture if I call myself a hitchhiker. It could help people get a grip on me. I hand them a box to put me in. This way they don’t need to be intimidated by my appearance.
“Je vais a Beziers. Je peut t’emmener jusqu’a la bas”
The way we start off defines the spirit in the communication for the rest of our trip together. Joy.

Hitchhiking always reminds me of the seemingly hazardous ways of life. Ways of nature if you will. Every single event has a specific value which makes it wonderfully unique. Events melt together in an almost obvious natural flow through space and time. A balance between the own decisions and the movements of destiny. I’m like a butterfly pushing myself of against the untamable force of the wind. Reaching my chosen destinations only when she allows me to. Blown off to others when she doesn’t.

The themes of these days are deep friendship and starting and broken love. Most of my drivers have recently had important changes going about in their lives. My current driver receives a hands free call from a friend he’s known for many years. It’s an expression of joyful madness. My next driver will receive a message of a good friend he hasn’t spoken for a while at the instant I get in the car. Curious little reminders of the precious bits of life. They make up for the hours in which you just stand there.

We are driving through Lourdes when I receive a message from K. She’s one of my housemates of the past months, and I have fallen terribly in love with her. They have just descended the mountains and are headed down to sea. She’s sorry that we couldn’t meet up. But they’ll be where I am in half an hour. I wait for them in the fountain in the middle of a roundabout. My heart feels like a thunderstorm.

The Czech car gives a different kind of honk than all others. In it sit E., the other old housemate, her boyfriend, K.’s sister, and herself, the most beautiful girl in the whole wide world. Fitting me is a challenge, but it works. I’m in. They have adjusted their destination to a small stream in the hills close by. We bathe, make a campfire and eat our food. Lentils. We play, we sing and we go to sleep. A hug.

The weather in the mountains is not so good next day. What better excuse to join these lovely people to the coast in their overfull car? We go to Carcassonne. I was here years ago, but this time I carry a drum instead of luggage. Instead of alone I am with the best company I could have wished for. More aware of places too. But I can’t tell how K. feels about me. Am I too pushy? I definitely don’t want to be too pushy. Just focus on the drumming. I feel like a cat held by its tail, yet at the same time I am the one holding the tail in an attempt to comfort the cat saying “it’s ok”. That never worked with a cat, but now I do manage to be around K. without running away while peeing in my pants. Back in the car, I write with my booklet on the drum. I have just invented that and it works perfectly. Two of my passions unite. Nothing unusual, but I feel like everything I do is inspired by her and done to impress her. As if her presence pushes me to be who I am just a little bit more. Is it her attention that I feel? Sometimes, definitely. But usually I’m not sure. Is that when it’s not?

At night, when we are finally alone again, we kiss under the eyes of a million stars. Perhaps it takes deep personal freedom to be able to believe in true romantic love. Or perhaps it’s the meeting with a great person. Grateful for the day I go back to my tent. Yet something in her hesitation did not fit.

Wodan

Fifteen men around a fire. One o’clock in the afternoon. We’re eating soup prepared by Veronica, resting from a morning of hard work. From willow branches we build walls while we burn a vast amount more. The ambiance is peaceful: we are here by choice, it’s nice to work outside together and the scent of spring is in the air.

“Wodan”. Raouls words are mine today, and mine are his. He is our guide on a biking tour through the past. Julian, Katia and Elishka live in the east, but are back for the weekend. On city bikes we are on a mountain bike trail through forest and heather. One year ago we were housemates; today it feels like nothing changed. Bound by our love for nature. We just had a picnic in the fields dancing and singing just for fun.

“We need beer”. Says Harmen. We agree that wine will not do. All the work is done. I estimate that we have burned about a ton today. By doing so, we have discovered a new campfire spot in Droevendaal, and we are not intending to leave it for the next couple of hours. It would be respectless to turn our backs on this powerful mass of coles. In one hour, we’ll get beer delivered by friends. An hour later, delicious indian food, cooked by another friend. We’ll draw in the coals. Instruments will come, and tonight we’ll be dancing here arm in arm with over twenty boys and girls.

Deep out of the grounds of the forest near Wolfheze, grow six five hundred years old oaks, locally known as Wodan’s oaks. This must be my fifth visit. My connection to them becomes more powerful every time. When we stand in front of one, its bark soft of the moss, Elishka suggests to hug it together. We do so compassionately. This group will soon fall apart again, but these Wodans, anchored, will keep nurturing our dreams with relief.

Playing mind games with Soul